While 99% of middle-market manufacturing executives claim to be at least moderately familiar with Industry 4.0 and more than half have developed or are developing an Industry 4.0 strategy, only 5% are currently implementing one. That alarmingly low number comes from a survey commissioned by professional services firm BDO USA LLP that polled 230 executives at U.S. manufacturing companies with annual revenues between $200 million and $3 billion. If major American companies are struggling to apply digital capabilities to physical operations, what are the implications for smaller enterprises?
The inaugural Middle Market Industry 4.0 Benchmarking Survey reveals manufacturers’ intentions are good: 79% reported they have, are developing, or plan to develop an Industry 4.0 strategy. The reality is they face some daunting challenges putting plans in place. Two-thirds of respondents cited poor communication as the biggest barrier to successful implementation.
Eskander Yavar, national leader of BDO’s Management & Technology Advisory Services and Industry 4.0 co-leader, explains, “Too often, organizations embark on a digital initiative but forget about the human element – if internal teams aren’t in sync, implementation of new systems may not go as planned.”
To encourage employee adoption of advanced technologies, 60% of respondents say they are training current employees to give them skills to enable Industry 4.0, and almost as many (57%) plan to hire new people. Even more (63%) plan to use third-party solutions to support Industry 4.0 and two-thirds have hired outside consultants.
As the survey authors note, successful Industry 4.0 adoption requires collaboration between business areas that have historically operated in silos, such as information technology and operations technology. Complicating implementation are legacy technologies and processes that don’t work well together, a problem cited by 64% of manufacturing executives surveyed. Other systemic problems stand in the way of applying Industry 4.0: 63% mention lack of skills or insufficient training, 60% say it’s because of lack of leadership and vision, and 54% blame underinvestment.
“Instilling a company-wide mindset that encourages continuous improvement and willingness to fail is key to ensuring your transformation initiatives don’t lose steam,” Yavar notes.
Manufacturers know that Industry 4.0 can transform their business, and most (69%) are concerned that failure to adequately invest in it will lead to encroachment from non-traditional competitors, a major worry. You don’t have to look far in aerospace to find upstart technologies that could transform the industry with novel concepts for urban air mobility.
Yavar says companies also need to think about adjusting company culture to proactively support innovation. “Short-term mistakes and failures are nearly inevitable, but experimentation is necessary to create lasting, long-term value.” However, he warns, “The window of opportunity is closing fast. Manufacturers who don’t invest in 2019 risk falling behind the curve.” – Eric
The GrindoSonic MK7 uses impulse excitation technique (IET) to non-destructively measure material characteristics. The universal instrument for industrial quality control and research purposes is equipped with Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) visualization.
Since a correlation exists between breaking load and natural frequency, the GrindoSonic MK7 is an alternative to destructive testing, with users receiving E- and G-modulus and Poisson’s ratio results in a fraction of a second from initiating measurement.
The system includes production process monitoring for launch and quality assurance/quality control and handles various materials in sizes from less than 100mg to 100 tons.
Included with the system is a piezo-electric vibration detector, acoustic vibration detector, a set of excitation devices, a reference test bar with test certificate, PC mouse, and a customized HPRC black case. Available options include frequency analysis, FFT calculation to detect multiple vibrations modes, choice of zones of interest by waveband filtering, oscilloscope function for time domain analysis, and graphic visualization of frequency domain.
Additive manufacturing is a process used to create three-dimensional parts from a digital file. It usually involves building up, or solidifying, thin layers of material to create complete parts. The technology is able to produce complex shapes which cannot be produced by ‘traditional’ techniques such as casting, forging and machining. Additive manufacturing introduces new design possibilities, including combining multiple components in production, minimize material use and reduce tooling costs.
We design and manufacture additive manufacturing systems for manufacturing components in a variety of metals using a process called metal powder bed fusion (or laser melting). Our expertise in process development and our experience in using the technology in our own manufacturing operations enable us to provide turn-key and optimized additive manufacturing solutions for a broad range of applications in industrial and healthcare sectors.
Where we specialize?
Productivity –The intelligent case flow design, and precise optical and mechanical control of the RenAM 500 series enables components to be produced with minimal pores and defects, typically >99.9% dense. Process emissions from melt pools are quickly removed from the build chamber, ensuring stable processing conditions and melting behavior. Real-time process monitoring capability provides traceability of the processing performance.
The RenAM 500 series of AM systems can be configured with a choice of one, two, three, or four lasers. The RenAM 500Q is configured with four high-power 500W lasers. Each laser is able to access the entire powder bed simultaneously to achieve the most efficient laser assignment, so the RenAM 500Q can achieve significantly higher builder rates, vastly improving productivity, and lower cost per part.
Performance – Improving the predictability of additive manufacturing to create a consistent and stable process boosts process throughput and the delivery of functional parts.
Solutions Centers – Renishaw Solutions Centers provide a secure development environment in which you can build your knowledge and confidence using additive manufacturing technology.
How can we help you?
Production manufacturers and sub-contractors – Developing additive manufacturing capabilities can be the natural next step in developing your company’s manufacturing capabilities.Product owners and designers – Metal additive manufacturing allows metal parts to be built without the need for traditional tooling and with few limitations in geometry. Equally, it is complementary to traditional subtractive methods and can be readily integrated into existing production operation.
Service bureaus – Providing versatile systems to enable you to consult, design and build precision finished parts from a variety of materials for your customers. Renishaw’s end-to-end solutions enhance any additive manufacturing service bureaus capabilities.
Research and education – Renishaw partners with many universities, researchers and academic institution on metal additive manufacturing projects. The open parameter ethos for materials used on our systems helps to encourage development of parameters for new materials.
Renishaw is an experienced user of additive manufacturing as a complementary process to its conventional manufacturing operations and can provide expert advice to help in your adoption of additive manufacturing. To learn more about our additive manufacturing systems and services for your industry, visit: https://www.renishaw.com/additive.